More than pound;4 million has been spent on redundancy and early severance packages for staff from HMIE, Learning and Teaching Scotland and the body created by their merger, a new report reveals.
Education Scotland was established a year ago to bring together HMIE and curriculum organisation LTS, and "improve the efficiency of the national bodies supporting education".
The new organisation's annual report 2011-12 reveals that a total of 97 staff received "exit packages" in the course of the merger: 37 from HMIE and 27 from LTS in 2010-11, amounting to pound;2,821,000; and a further 33 from Education Scotland the following year, costing pound;1,340,000.
The most prominent person to take advantage of voluntary severance and early exit schemes was Bernard McLeary, former chief executive of Learning and Teaching Scotland. He left LTS in June last year with a pension of pound;50,000-55,000, a lump sum payment of pound;135,000-140,000 and pound;91,000 voluntary severance payment.
The annual accounts also show the organisation has spent pound;5 million on outside contractors and pound;3.2 million on travel and development so far. The overall bill for travel, consultants, advisers, contractors, conferences and seminars since 2010 was about pound;10.3 million, which included overseas trips for the Scottish teachers' CPD programme.
Education Scotland was now costing substantially less, the report showed. Resource expenditure had dropped by pound;6.6 million, from pound;37.7 million in 2010-11 to pound;31.1 million in 2011-12 - pound;1.5 million less than the body's budget of pound;32.6 million. Its budget for the current year is down further to pound;27.12 million.
A major reason for the drop was given as the reduction in staff caused by the early severance schemes and the non-renewal of fixed-term contracts.
There was also a significant reduction in expenditure on contractors, according to the report, and on assistant inspectors and associate assessors because of the moratorium on inspections in secondaries that saved over pound;500,000.
The large reduction in core staff at Education Scotland was concerning at a time when schools were demanding more support than ever, said Larry Flanagan, general secretary of Scotland's largest union, the Educational Institute of Scotland. "We will be looking for any savings to be reinvested in support for schools," he said.
Chief executive, Bill Maxwell, said he was proud of what the organisation had achieved in its first year. A "corporate plan" to be published later this year would make clear its priorities over the next three years, he said.
The annual report also revealed that just before leaving LTS, Bernard McLeary received a bonus of pound;9,018 which related to his performance in 2009-10.
Chief executive pound;110,000
Bill Maxwell, appointed senior chief inspector of education in Scotland in 2010 and confirmed as chief executive of Education Scotland in January 2012.
Strategic directors pound;65,000-75,000
Director for lifelong learning; formerly director of curriculum and assessment at Learning and Teaching Scotland.
Director for early years, families and partnerships; formerly chief inspector in charge of primaries and pre-schools.
Director for school years; formerly chief inspector in charge of secondaries and FE.
Director for strategy, performance and corporate resources; on long-term secondment from Fife Council.
Original headline: `Exit packages' total pound;4m, Education Scotland reveals